Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Critical Success Factors for Virtual Teams

Presentation from 2001 about the success factors for virtual teams, based on interviews in 12 multinational organizations.

  • Be the first to comment

Critical Success Factors for Virtual Teams

  1. 1. Critical Success Factors for Virtual Teams Workplace Forum: working across physical and virtual worlds Jeroen van Bree, Martien Vlietman, Rixt Wierda London, 21 May 2001
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Our study </li></ul><ul><li>Virtuality defined </li></ul><ul><li>Drivers for virtual teamwork </li></ul><ul><li>Critical success factors </li></ul>
  3. 3. Our study <ul><li>Multiple case study: 12 organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Shell, Boeing, Xerox, Hewlett Packard, Philips, Ahold, Unilever, Heineken, Oracle, Baan, The Vision Web, IBM </li></ul><ul><li>On average 2 interviews per organization with members and facilitators of virtual teams </li></ul><ul><li>Objective: exploring current practices and success factors </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is a virtual team? <ul><li>Separated by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cultural boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interaction primarily by means of electronic media </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face meetings seldom or never take place </li></ul>
  5. 5. Examples of virtual teams <ul><li>Product development teams </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge transfer teams </li></ul><ul><li>Management teams </li></ul><ul><li>Project teams </li></ul>
  6. 6. Virtual teams vs. virtual communities <ul><li>A virtual community is a network of people with a common interest or who are active in the same professional field, supported by communication technology </li></ul><ul><li>A (virtual) team distinguishes itself from a (virtual) community in the following respects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a team has a common goal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a team is limited in size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a team shares responsibility for a task </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Drivers for virtual teamwork <ul><li>Involve the best people in a project, regardless of their location </li></ul><ul><li>A production process that is spread out over the world </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing knowledge across boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce travel time and travel expenses </li></ul><ul><li>Work more efficiently </li></ul>Efficiency drives virtual teamwork, technology makes it possible
  8. 8. Michael Heim ‘ Today’s computer communication cuts the physical face out of the communication process. Even video conferencing adds only a simulation of face-to-face meeting.’ ‘ The face is the primal interface, more basic than any machine mediation. Without the direct experience of the human face, ethical awareness shrinks and rudeness enters.’
  9. 9. Efficiency vs. effectiveness Effectiveness Efficiency High Team Group Virtual Group High Low Low Virtual Team Leadership Competences Technology Setting objectives Communication Team- culture
  10. 10. Pyramid of virtual team success Success Factor Precondition Leadership Competences Technology Setting objectives Communication Team- culture
  11. 11. Technology (1) <ul><li>standard tools: mobile phone and laptop for anyplace/anytime net access </li></ul><ul><li>standard applications: e-mail and teleconferencing </li></ul><ul><li>also in use: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>electronic schedules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intranets for sharing documents and knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><li>videoconferencing: very expensive, not available on the workplace, quality low, added value limited </li></ul><ul><li>real-time tools: application sharing and shared whiteboard increasingly being used </li></ul>
  12. 12. Technology (2) <ul><li>equal technology support for all team members is essential </li></ul><ul><li>ICT needs to support: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>coordination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>information sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>opportunistic interactions </li></ul></ul>“ the preponderance of face-to-face interaction, roughly 90%, are opportunistic, not scheduled” (Kraut, 1993)
  13. 13. Setting objectives <ul><li>“ a virtual kick-off is not a kick-off” </li></ul><ul><li>objectives need to be set in a face-to-face meeting </li></ul><ul><li>goals are more important in a virtual setting, because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the multi-cultural nature of virtual teams implies different norms and values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>adjusting the direction of the team is more difficult </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Competences <ul><li>required competences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>English language skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>self-management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>being results-oriented </li></ul></ul><ul><li>additional competences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>technical skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>networking skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>competences should be taken into account when selecting team members </li></ul>
  15. 15. Leadership <ul><li>“ motivation and evaluation is more difficult in a virtual team” </li></ul><ul><li>virtual team managers tend to focus solely on output, but need to act as a coach as well </li></ul><ul><li>manager needs to be sensitive to other signals, because behavior of team members is less visible </li></ul>“ It’s difficcult to interpret delays, unreturned calls, hesistancies. Mole hills become mountains, oversights look like insults” (O’Hara-Deveraux & Johansen)
  16. 16. Communication <ul><li>“ people find it much easier to reject something by e-mail than in a face-to-face meeting” </li></ul><ul><li>‘ rules of engagement’ are more important, because correcting behavior is difficult </li></ul><ul><li>the medium should be aligned with the message based on the media richness </li></ul>
  17. 17. Media Richness Theory (Daft & Lengel) Richness of a medium direct feedback natural language multiple signals personal touch lean rich face-to-face telephone e-mail letter memo newsletter chat virtual world shared whiteboard
  18. 18. Team culture <ul><li>“ cultural differences are magnified” </li></ul><ul><li>trust is more difficult to establish in a virtual team, but is essential </li></ul><ul><li>face-to-face meetings are necessary to create a common ground </li></ul><ul><li>team culture (practices) should be created to supersede national cultures (values) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Summary <ul><li>virtual teamwork offers opportunities for organizations to work more efficiently </li></ul><ul><li>the technology in use still has its shortcomings </li></ul><ul><li>effective virtual teamwork requires a new way of working, with close attention to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(people) management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>values and goals </li></ul></ul>